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Experiment: Does posting more on Twitter pay off?

By Kate Meyers Emery (she/her)
August 4, 2022

Mobile device with twitter on the screen

There’s a fair amount of debate among social media managers about how much you post on different platforms. If you Google it, you’ll see hundreds of articles offering advice that ranges from detailed instructions to more general speculation.  

At Candid, we are consistently experimenting with our social media outreach, tracking the data along the way to make sure our methods are data-driven. One of our goals with social media is to increase engagement with users; this means increasing likes, retweets, and replies. While we have a fairly large audience on Twitter (around 145K followers), we only see an average of 1,000 engagements per month. Another part of this was wanting to increase engagement to stop the loss of followers. In addition to the normal loss of followers that occurs, our @CandidDotOrg account lost a few hundred followers in the days following Elon Musk’s announcement that he would purchase Twitter, and we wanted to make sure the remaining followers saw the value of our feed. 

One of the ways that you can increase engagement, is to simply increase the number of posts (though conversely, due to the quirks of algorithms this can also decrease engagement and take attention away from content). We decided to double our daily tweets and see what impact this would have.  

Inspired by Hootsuite’s amazing Experiment Series of blog posts, we thought it would be fun to share our experiment in testing whether posting more on Twitter would lead to higher engagement.  

Hypothesis: posting around 20 times per day will lead to greater Twitter engagement. 

There is a lot of debate around how much you should tweet every day: 

The caveat with any article about posting frequency is that your audience is going to be different, so your posting frequency should be tailored to them.  

Since we had already seen some growth moving from 2-3 tweets a day to around 10 tweets a day, we decided to experiment with posting around 20 tweets a day, and hypothesized that this would lead to higher engagement.  

Methodology 

We ran our test from May–June 2022, averaging between an average of 20 tweets per weekday. The tweets were a mix of our own content, including polls, threads, and links, and retweeted content.  

We compared these against two other periods, January–February 2022, where we had an average of 2-3 tweets per day, and March–April 2022, with an average of 10 tweets per day. 

Results*

Month Total tweets Average tweets / day Total engagement Average engagement / tweet
January 62 3.1 731 11.79
February 45 2.25 726 16.13
March 216 10.8 1,979 9.16
April 203 10.15 1,592 7.84
May 367 18.35 2,741 7.47
June 349 17.45 3,114 8.92

 

Higher volume of tweets does lead to higher engagement. However, average engagement per tweet doesn't get higher when tweeting at a higher volume; it actually goes down.  

Yes, posting more on Twitter leads to higher engagement. But...

Tweeting at a higher volume does increase overall engagement, but not higher engagement per tweet. When we're looking at this to consider our strategy, there are a few things to add to the story that aren't present within the data. 

  1. Capacity to produce content: Tweeting 20 times a day is a lot, and it is difficult to produce high quality content at that volume. For us, tweeting around 10 times a day is much more doable and gives us the time to focus on creating better content. 
  2. Breathing room for quality content: We learned that when we have important announcements, we need to give them a little breathing room. The challenge with 20 tweets a day is that you don’t have that space. By going for quantity, we were taking attention away from the quality.  
  3. Quantity can reveal quality: By going through this process of tweeting at higher volumes, we were able to see trends in what people liked and did not like. This was helpful in planning our broader content strategy moving forward. We found people liked a combination of thought leadership, current events, and educational material. Had we not gone through the experience, we wouldn’t have as much data about what content people like. 

Looking forward, we are going to focus on doing around 10 tweets a day on the weekdays. We will continue to track the data to see whether this frequency works for us and adjust as needed.  

What does this mean for your strategy? 

While experts may give their advice on what seems to work for their clients or their own personal audiences, your organization’s social media should be a balance between what works for your audience and what works for you.  

The key to any social media account is really consistency. Whatever frequency you decide you can maintain, just try to keep it consistent across weeks.  

If you want to try this experiment, consider to just committing to doing a single post every day for a month. If you've got that down, maybe try 3-5 times a day for a month (you can use free tools like Tweetdeck or Buffer to schedule tweets in advance so you don't actively need to do it). At the end of the month, evaluate whether the results are worth the time it takes.

Have you experimented with your Twitter posting frequency? We’d love to hear your results! 

 

*To get this data, we exported our Twitter data from January through June in CSV format from Hootsuite by tweet. We then summarized each month, and divided engagement and impressions by number of tweets per month. If you do not have a tool like Hootsuite, you can use the native analytics at analytics.twitter.com.   

Tags: Social media